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Early intervention: a guide for frontline police officers and PCSOs

A Home Office Crime Prevention Panel project

Crime has fallen by more than a fifth under this government, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales. However, we are not complacent. There were still over seven million crimes in the year to June 2014. So there is still much to do.

That is why the Home Office set up a Crime Prevention Panel of academics, industry leaders, charities and the police to bring fresh thinking and new ideas to the way we approach crime prevention. The Early Intervention Foundation is part of this Panel.

Early intervention is crucial to get to the root causes of involvement in crime and to prevent problems before they escalate. Spotting risks early on and putting the right multi-agency support in place can greatly improve outcomes for young people and can prevent them becoming involved in crime. This also makes sound economic sense.

The police have an important role to play. Quite often they will be the first agency to come into contact with a child or family in need of help. They are therefore in a key position to identify problems and, in partnership with other agencies, to help bring about the support that is needed.
Some police forces work well with their partners to ensure that help is provided at the earliest opportunity - but this is not the case everywhere. More advice is needed about how local areas are putting early intervention into practice, and on the contribution early intervention can make to crime prevention.

This Guide helps to fill that gap. It is an important source of information and practical advice for police officers. It guides them in how to engage effectively with young people, families and communities in order to spot potential problems. It provides advice about action the police might take themselves and how they can draw in support from other agencies. Although this Guide is aimed at front-line police officers, I encourage all officers to read it and to think about how they might use early intervention to help prevent crime.